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James Rodriguez: World Cup star joins Real Madrid

By Theo Resnikoff, for CNN
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
"James Rodriguez has the keys to open any door," former Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri said of the Colombian when he managed him last season. "James Rodriguez has the keys to open any door," former Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri said of the Colombian when he managed him last season.
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Meet Real Madrid's newest Galactico
Meet Real Madrid's newest Galactico
Meet Real Madrid's newest Galactico
Meet Real Madrid's newest Galactico
Meet Real Madrid's newest Galactico
Meet Real Madrid's newest Galactico
Meet Real Madrid's newest Galactico
Meet Real Madrid's newest Galactico
Meet Real Madrid's newest Galactico
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World Cup Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez joins Real Madrid on six-year contract
  • By moving from Monaco to Real Madrid, Rodriguez completed his "dream" move
  • He joins World Cup winner and new signing Toni Kroos as part of the new-look Galacticos

Editor's note: Read this story in Spanish here.

(CNN) -- One of the World Cup's most exciting players has joined Real Madrid.

James Rodriguez -- Colombia's star man at Brazil 2014 and winner of the Golden Boot -- penned a six-year contract with the reigning European champion after his transfer from Monaco was completed in a reported $121 million deal.

The 23-year-old midfielder's six goals and two assists at the World Cup had heads turning at all the big clubs, but Real was destined to get its man after Rodriguez told Spanish sports newspaper Marca that he dreamed of playing for "Los Blancos."

"It's really flattering to know that a club of Real Madrid's stature is interested in me. It'd be a dream to join the club of my dreams," Rodriguez said.

Brazil's stand-in captain David Luiz was left in tears after his side was thrashed 7-1 in the semifinal by Germany. Brazil, hoping to win the tournament for a sixth time, trailed 5-0 at halftime. Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said it was the worst day of his life. Brazil's stand-in captain David Luiz was left in tears after his side was thrashed 7-1 in the semifinal by Germany. Brazil, hoping to win the tournament for a sixth time, trailed 5-0 at halftime. Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said it was the worst day of his life.
Humiliation of the host nation
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World Cup: The top 10 matches World Cup: The top 10 matches
The Colombian team bus edges through massive crowds who greeted them in the capital Bogota. The Colombian team bus edges through massive crowds who greeted them in the capital Bogota.
Colombia greets its World Cup heroes
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Colombia greets its World Cup heroes Colombia greets its World Cup heroes
Colombia's James Rodriquez scores big

"Would I jump at the chance to go to Real? No doubt about it, my answer is a resounding yes," he added.

It was then only a matter of time before Real Madrid came knocking on Monaco's door.

Rodriguez joined Monaco last year for a fee of $60.8 million and scored 10 goals in 38 appearances as the French club finished runner-up to Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1.

Former Monaco chief executive and technical director Tor-Kristian Karlsen, who has regularly scouted players from Latin America, says Rodriguez is right up there with the world's best.

"He's possibly the best playmaker in the world at present," Karlsen told CNN in June.

Rodriguez even caught the attention of NBA star and avid football fan LeBron James.

"Man watching this Colombia game I think I have my new favorite player in the World Cup! Obviously his name help that out #Biased" LeBron tweeted.

The 10-time European champion has always aimed to buy the world's top players, and Rodriguez certainly fits the mold following his exploits at Brazil 2014, where he scored the goal of the tournament against Uruguay.

His innate ability to pick a pass and his willingness to attack with speed and control make him an exciting prospect for a Real Madrid team intent on playing a counter-attacking style of football.

After beating Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final last season, Real Madrid will want to ensure it keeps up its trophy-winning ways.

Rodriguez follows World Cup winner Toni Kroos to the Bernabeu -- the Germany midfielder was bought for a reported $34 million from Bayern Munich last week.

Read: Barcelona declares 'Luis Suarez is ours'

Read: Chile star Sanchez agrees to join Arsenal from Barcelona

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